Anaesthesia and your pet

An anaesthetic is necessary for most surgical and some medical procedures which need to be done to pets.

There are numerous drugs that can be used as part of an anaesthetic regime and therefore hundreds of combinations. The protocol chosen is based on the pets age, species, size and very importantly any specific medical conditions that may affect the anaesthetic. This may include heart disease, kidney or liver disease, conditions such as diabetes or animals that have sustained injuries to the head or chest.
What do we do to keep your pet as safe as is possible?

Once we have assessed the risk factors, a suitable anaesthetic protocol can be applied for your pet. There is no such thing as a completely risk-free anaesthetic, but by applying this process and using top quality equipment and personnel, the risk is minimised. We at Valley Farm have the reassurance of having a world leading animal anaesthetist, Dr Gareth Zeiler leading our anaesthetic team of nurses and anaesthetic residents (qualified vets specialising under Gareth). This has made our anaesthetic capacity and safety world class. Cases that may have been refused general anaesthetics in the past can now be anaesthetised with acceptable safety. This allows for heart surgery, brain surgery and highly compromised patients to receive life-saving operations that were previously considered unsafe.

What happens on the day

For routine procedures we request that dogs and cats are starved (no food but they can drink water) for 12 hours before the anaesthetic. This is to prevent vomiting on induction or during recovery which could lead to suffocation or aspiration pneumonia.  Many procedures, especially abdominal operations, could be complicated if the stomach is full of food.

All patients at Valley Farm Animal Hospital get a full clinical examination before an anaesthetic so we are aware of anything that may have an impact.

There is continual monitoring of vital signs throughout the procedure and during recovery. We can monitor pulse rate and quality, respiration rate, ECG trace, blood SpO2, and blood gases. All of this is critical for picking up changes so they can be responded to before they become problematic.

Patients are kept warm and monitored through recovery. We only allow pets to go home when they are safe to do so. You may find your pet has a slight cough post anaesthetic, this will due to the tube that delivered the anaesthetic gas.

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